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Thursday 28 August 2014

Dentist in new gender legal bid

Published 27/02/2013 | 16:31

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Dr Lydia Foy, a dentist from Athy Co Kildare, is launching a fresh legal challenge for a new birth certificate

A transgender dentist is to launch a fresh legal challenge for a new birth certificate recognising her female gender.

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Five years ago Dr Lydia Foy, who was registered at birth as a male, won a High Court case which found the State had violated her rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The State later dropped its appeal against the ruling, paving the way for legislation recognising transgender people in their new identity to be introduced.

Legal rights group FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) revealed it has issued fresh proceedings on behalf of Dr Foy, who has been fighting for gender recognition in Ireland for two decades. Michael Farrell, FLAC solicitor, said it has been a long and painful journey for the former dentist.

"Dr Foy has had her hopes raised several times only to have them dashed again," he said.

"The courts have ruled that her rights have been violated but nothing changes. It is deeply unfair to make her wait any longer."

It is 20 years since Dr Foy first applied for a new birth certificate and 16 years since she began legal proceedings to secure recognition of her acquired gender.

She plans to ask the High Court to declare that the Government is obliged under the ECHR or the Irish constitution to introduce new legislation to recognise her - and other transgender persons - in her acquired gender.

Alternatively, she is wants the court to declare that the ECHR Act 2003, which was introduced to incorporate the convention into Irish law, is ineffective and must be changed.

"Ireland is now the only state in the EU that has no legal provision at all for recognising transgender persons in their acquired gender," Mr Farrell added.

"It is ironic that the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is to address the United Nations Human Rights Council today and is expected to speak about LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) issues when the Irish Government is clearly in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights on this issue."

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